Leading solar lobby group Solar Citizens is launching a new campaign, Stand up for Solar, to lobby for a higher renewable energy target, and a fair price for solar exports.
The campaign advocates a national goal of at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, which it says will help millions of families go solar, create tens of thousands of jobs and ensure billions in investment for our sunny country.
It also wants to ensure a “fair” feed-in tariff for power fed back into the grid, and the end to discriminatory fees to solar households. It suggests a specialist “solar ombudsman” to protect consumers’ rights in every state and territory.
And it wants a national program to support low-income households and renters switch to solar.
Claire O’Rourke, the national director of Solar Citizens, says the campaign will run all year, and will target politicians in all states, including the federal arena.
“People are sick of solar and renewable energy being used as a political football,” she said. “The issue is being mired in quicksand and we need to get it out of there.”
Solar is currently on more than 1.3 million household rooftops across Australia, with some states experiencing a penetration rate of around 25 per cent of available housing.
However, tariffs for solar exports have been cut drastically, and in states such as NSW and south-east Queensland are entirely voluntary.
The new Queensland Labor government has asked the pricing regulatory to review the tariffs, calling on it to factor solar’s benefits rather than just perceived negatives.
O’Rourke said her group had met with an estimated one third of federal MPs, across all lines of politics.
“We’ve yet to meet a politician that doesn’t like the idea of solar,” she says.
“But some politicians feel bound by party positions. We need to help them advocate more ambitious solar and renewable policy goals. “